Luck is a huge part of Chinese culture.
It underlies Feng Shui, gift-giving etiquette, unlucky numbers and colors of prosperity and vitality.
So it may come as no surprise that there are many different ways to wish someone “good luck” in Chinese for the different areas of their life.
Whether someone just started a new job, is getting married or has an exam coming up, there are distinct phrases you can use to wish them good fortune (while impressing them with your native-sounding language skills).
Here are 30 of the most important ways to say good luck in Chinese for everyday events as well as big life changes.
30 Ways to Wish Someone Success and Good Luck in Chinese
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Good Luck for Everyday Situations
To reiterate, the way you say good luck in Chinese depends on the context and audience, but there is, in fact, a literal equivalent to the Western idea of wishing someone good luck, as shown below.
祝你好运！(zhù nǐ hǎo yùn!) — (I wish you) Good luck!
As you can see, this is a direct translation of “good luck.” The verb 祝 (zhù) means “to wish,” 你 (nǐ) means “you,” 好 (hǎo) is “good” and 运 (yùn) is “luck.”
This is as straightforward as it gets, but it’s not used very often because it sounds “too translated.” Native speakers prefer to use other phrases to wish someone luck, with each one catering to specific situations.
For example, to wish someone luck on a test or exam, it’s better to say:
好好儿考啊！(hǎo hǎo er kǎo a!) — Have a good exam/Do well on this exam!
When you want to wish someone luck on another kind of task or job, you can say:
好好儿干啊！(hǎo hǎo er gàn a!) — Do well on this task/job!
There’s another phrase you can use for words of encouragement, similar to “good luck,” which is more of an idiomatic expression. 加油 (jiā yóu), which literally means “add oil,” is a figurative expression that best translates to “come on, let’s go!”
To use that in a sentence, you can say something like:
我为你加油！(wǒ wèi nǐ jiā yóu!) — I’m cheering for you!
我给你加油！(wǒ gěi nǐ jiā yóu!) — I will cheer for you!
These examples and the phrase 加油 (jiā yóu) can be used in many instances, but are more common in competitive situations.
Blessings for Newlyweds
Know any couples that just got hitched? “Good luck” is normally not a blessing to share with the bride and groom, but there are other ways that you can wish them well.
You can never go wrong with a generic greeting, whether you’re friends with the newlyweds or more along the lines of acquaintances. Try these out:
祝你们幸福。(zhù nǐ men xìng fú) — I wish you happiness.
祝你们百年好合。(zhù nǐ men bǎi nián hǎo hé) — I wish you a long life together. (Literally, “I wish you all the best for next 100 years together.”)
祝你们幸福美满。 (zhù nǐ men xìng fú měi mǎn) — I wish you happiness and bliss.
祝你们新婚愉快。(zhù nǐ men xīn hūn yú kuài) — I wish you a happy marriage/wedding.
Most examples above (except for the first) can be uttered without 祝你们 (zhù nǐ men), since they’re actually expressions on their own. Plus, it’s a given that you’re extending the wish to the couple.
So, it’s perfectly fine to say 新婚愉快 (xīn hūn yú kuài), but we included 祝你们 (zhù nǐ men) for the sake of demonstrating sentence structure.
Now, if you’re close with couple, here are some additional idiomatic expressions you can share with them. Feel free to add in 祝你们 (zhù nǐ men) at the beginning of each expression if you prefer.
白头偕老 (bái tóu xié lǎo) — May you grow old together (Literally, “Live together until your hair goes white with old age”)
多子多孙 (duō zi duō sūn) — May you have many children and grandchildren
举案齐眉 (jǔ àn qí méi) — May you have mutual respect in marriage (Literally, “Lift the tray to eyebrow level”)
互敬互爱 (hù jìng hù ài) — May you have mutual respect and love
激情永在 (jī qíng yǒng zài) — May you have everlasting passion (Literally, “Passion is always there”)
早生贵子 (zǎo shēng guì zǐ) — May you give birth to a child soon
The original meaning of the last one actually is about giving birth to a son, so it’s best to reserve the last wedding wish for traditional Chinese couples and families. Or just opt for any of the other idioms.
Birthdays are another occasion where you can wish people good fortune. Other than saying “Happy Birthday,” which is 生日快乐 (shēng rì kuài lè) in Chinese, you can share the following hopes for the celebrant.
For the kids:
希望你健康快乐地长大！(xī wàng nǐ jiàn kāng kuài lè dì zhǎng dà!) — I hope you grow up happy and healthy!
For your peers:
祝你天天快乐，心想事成。(zhù nǐ tiān tiān kuài lè, xīn xiǎng shì chéng.) — I wish that you’re happy every day, and that all your wishes come true.
For the elderly:
长命百岁 (cháng mìng bǎi suì) — May you live for 100 years
寿比南山, 福如东海 (shòu bǐ nán shān, fú rú dōng hǎi) — May you live as long as Southern Mountain and your fortune be as boundless as the Eastern Sea
The last one is very poetic and very popular among the older generations.
Wishes for Success, Prosperity and Good Fortune
Weddings and birthdays aren’t the only times you can send good wishes.
If a friend just got hired, you can wish them luck at the new job by saying:
财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn) — May you have an abundant source of income, wealth and fortune
平步青云 (píng bù qīng yún) — May you get promoted quickly (Literally, “Skyrocket”)
马到成功 (mǎ dào chéng gōng) — May you immediately meet with success
步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng) — May you continuously get promoted (Literally, “Rise step by step”)
What you’d normally hear and say during Chinese New Year can also be used in a congratulatory sense, wishing someone luck in any future endeavor, whether business-related or not. It can even be included in a toast.
恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái) — Happy New Year/May you be prosperous
During the New Year, a birthday, a holiday or any other celebration, you can say:
身体健康 (shēn tǐ jiàn kāng) — I wish you good health (Literally, “healthy body”)
To wish someone happiness in everyday situations, you can say, “Bless you,” although this shouldn’t be confused with how English speakers use that phrase after someone sneezes.
祝福你！(zhù fú nǐ!) — Bless you! (Literally, “I wish happiness/good fortune on you!”)
And if you’re bidding someone adieu, you can say:
保重！(bǎo zhòng!) — Take care!
一路顺风！ (yī lù shùn fēng) — Bon Voyage! (Literally, “May the wind be with you!”)
This list is probably more than enough for you to impress Chinese-speaking friends and family. You’ll sound like a native when you wish people luck using any of these expressions!